Being thankful is one of those qualities of life people seem obsessed with all the time. We have a major holiday around it. We find whole sections of Hallmark cards on the theme of thanks. Ask parents what some of the first words we teach our children are, and invariably the words, “thank you,” will be high on the list.
And yet, gratitude is not meant to be something that’s simply external or an expression of social etiquette. It is something to be cultivated on a regular basis for the sake of our souls and spirits and our connections to God and to each other. So much tries to prevent us from this posture towards life, but when we see its necessity for our basic survival each day we can easily make strides to truly be grateful for so much in our lives.
It is food for our lives, and the food of our lives.next >
Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:31-34next >
As we approach the season of Advent I’m reminded of the importance of the theme of God’s kingdom. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we read that God’s kingdom is being brought near — a kingdom promised to be different from any earthly one. It is a kingdom of peace, of radical and revolutionary love. It is a kingdom of grace, also of undeniable and earnest transformation. It is a kingdom of hope, and one that is intent on flipping upside down all our notions of justice, equity, and life together.
In this passage, Jesus exhorts the people to “strive first for the kingdom of God,” right after telling them to disregard the worries of the world. Jesus reminds us that we are not only to ignore the goals and standards of the world around us but also to actively endeavor to be God’s kingdom in the flesh and blood.
It is a kingdom of gratitude, which is countercultural. Surrendering to God’s kingdom is what will ultimately produce the abundance of thanksgiving, a harvest that will never fail or falter.
Mihee Kim-Kortnext >
God, I long to bring your kingdom to bear in every place. I know and believe that your kingdom is about radical and honest connection, and I want to live that out in my own life. Amen.next >
May you discard the worries of the past and all that would prevent you from the gracious beauty of the present moment.
May you relinquish the fears and anxieties of tomorrow and root yourself in the soil of the abundance here and now.
May you have the spirit and energy to strive for the Good in everything.
May gratitude and love overflow in your cup.
Go in peace and hope, with the joy that comes from a thankful heart towards God in Jesus Christ.
Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She is spouse to a Presbyterian minister, mother to three amazing children, director of a UKIRK campus ministry at Indiana University. She is also a freelance writer and author of numerous blogs, articles, and books. Her website is www.miheekimkort.com.
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